By Sherrie Norris
Friday, June 9 began on a positive note for local law enforcement officers who were treated to breakfast by District Attorney Seth Banks and Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court Diane Cornett Deal.
It was the second year for the Banks and Deal to join forces outside the courtroom to provide breakfast for the officers as a way to thank them for a job well done.
The event was held at the Watauga County Agriculture Center in the lower level of the NC Cooperative Extension building on West King Street in Boone. Officers from all departments in Watauga County were invited, including the sheriff’s office, probation office and all police departments, as well as those from Appalachian State University and the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Among the honored guests was Chief District Court Judge Ted McEntire
Banks, who began hosting similar events across his five-county district several years ago, said
“Law enforcement plays such an integral role in keeping our community safe, and the reality is that our officers aren’t told often enough that they are appreciated. In the High Country, we are blessed because many people look up to and respect law enforcement, but we are often waylaid by our responsibilities on a daily basis, and we don’t take time to say ‘thank you’ enough.”
Banks added, “The officers are putting their lives on the line day every day for the health and well- being of us and our children. It’s certainly the least we can do to show our appreciation for all they do.”
According to Deal, the breakfast helps to serve as a morale booster for the officers and solidifies the working relationship the departments have with each other and the court staff.
“I have always enjoyed a good working relationship with our officers,” Deal said. “My staff and I appreciate their professionalism and we enjoy the opportunity to give back to them in this small way. It’s our way of thanking our officers for their service to our county.”
This year’s joint effort in Watauga County stemmed from the first breakfast Banks held at the courthouse in 2017. “I appreciated that the clerk of court, as another important member of the (court) system, came on board to help, and that she wanted to become involved with this year’s event, as well. I welcomed her assistance.”
Banks said. “Once again, we want to emphasize that we do appreciate our law enforcement officers and want to give them an opportunity to sit down and break bread together.
The food was prepared by the staff of both offices, with Banks preparing the bacon and cooking the pancakes on site. Others provided fruit and breakfast casseroles.
On behalf of those on the receiving end, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said, “It is always good to fellowship with our sister agencies, and to expand upon that — to include those who work alongside us — as both the offices of Clerk of Superior Court and the District Attorney further enhances that fellowship.”
Hagaman added, “To experience this fellowship in a relaxed and informal setting —outside the courtroom — underscores the importance of the entire criminal justice team and our respective missions. We really appreciate the time and work that went into the meal. It is clear that a lot of hard work went into ensuring that the breakfast was a blessing to those in attendance. We appreciate it very much. It was all delicious.”